Big crowds head to LIVESTRONG Sporting Park for World Cup Qualifier

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - More races and more matches mean more money.

Since the Kansas Speedway was built at Village West 11 years ago, tax revenue has jumped from $200,000 to $11 million.

The buzz surrounding U.S. Soccer and LIVESTRONG Sporting Park could add to that economic success.

Eyes on Kansas City

When the American Outlaws travel for soccer, they don't go unnoticed. The fan club for the U.S. Soccer Team met early Tuesday afternoon to tailgate outside of LIVESTRONG Sporting Park ahead of Tuesday evening's match.

It is Kansas City's first qualifying soccer match in almost 11 years. At 6 p.m., the United States will take on Guatemala.

"I think I've been to a total of 13 or 14 games, some of them in LA, a bunch in Chicago, that's easy," said Ryan Smith, a member of the American Outlaws group. "We'll go anywhere we can, anywhere we can afford to go."

"This is the best stadium in the league and it's a central location, so we can get fans from all over the country to travel easily," explained Kevin Shook, treasurer of the KC Cauldron, another fan group. "So, I think we're going to blow them away with the atmosphere tonight."

Vying for future qualifying matches

That is the goal, because qualifying matches attract sell-out crowds from all over the country. That means more soccer excitement and more money spent in Kansas City, Kan.

"If the U.S. wins tonight, which we hope they do and the crowd is good which, we anticipate as well, then there's a good chance we'll have a qualifier as well next year," said Rob Thomson, Executive Vice President for Sporting Kansas City.

Meanwhile, when NASCAR comes to town this weekend, the crowd at the Kansas Speedway will become the fourth largest population of any city in the state.

The economic possibilities are endless at Village West, and so is the enthusiasm.

"It's a great all around feeling for us personally," Thomson said. "Everyone at this club loves Kansas City."

The announcement for the location of next year's qualifying matches will take place in spring 2013.

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